Imagine a romantic, candlelit dinner situated on a veranda overlooking a white-sand beach. You and your spouse have waited months for this moment of tranquility on vacation. You gaze lovingly into each other’s eyes, looking out over the moonlight dancing on the water. Anticipating your perfectly cooked filet mignon, you begin to unfold your napkin on your lap and savor your sip of your wine.
The blissful evening seems like a dream until you hear a small voice chirp, “Mooooooommmy… Daaaaaaaddddy…” You’re quickly brought back to reality and the fact that you were not able to find a babysitter for your 3-year-old.
Vacationing with young children is delightful but there are times when parents need a break to enjoy each other’s company. A vacation babysitter can provide the help you need! But how do you find a sitter when you’re away from home? What options do you have? Let’s have a look at six different types of child care often available to you while on vacation.
1. Resort Babysitting Service
It has become more and more popular for resorts to offer kids clubs, daycares, babysitter and other child care service. Some even have staff trained in Early Childhood Education (ECE). Resorts may have specific drop-off times where you can easily and securely send your children off for an afternoon or evening. Other resorts have special programs that have themes and structured play activities so your children are engaged in fun, age-appropriate events. Most of these services are at an additional cost, so be sure to check ahead.
2. Hotel Babysitting Service
Hotels often have local babysitting companies that they are connected to that can provide parents with nearby childcare. A concierge will tell you the options they have for babysitting services in the area.
Be sure to specify the ages of your children so a babysitter with the proper experience is sent to care for your child. The babysitting is normally done within your hotel room. Many of the sitters come with a bag of activities and fun games to keep your child busy. However, you can certainly also provide your own movies, toys or books for the babysitter to use with your children.
The sitters are normally fully screened and are employed by the agency that the hotel has a partnership with. You will not pay the babysitter directly. Instead, the hotel will present you with the charges for this service on your final room bill. This is a nice amenity when you don’t want to ration your cash during a fun-filled evening to ensure there’s enough to pay the sitter.
3. Bring Your Babysitter or Nanny With You
This may work well for both you and the babysitter. You get to have someone who you and your child are already comfortable with, and the sitter has the opportunity to earn extra money for their services while in a beautiful location.
Travel, accommodation and food are normally covered by the parent. It would be fully acceptable for the sitter to share a room with the children, and the parents have a separate room. However, it is important to schedule time off for the babysitter every day.
A flat fee for the babysitter’s time is recommended. As always, these monetary conditions and stipulations for time off should be outlined and agreed to in advance of the trip. Vacations are meant for relaxation, not setting up a work schedule.
More on this: Bringing your Nanny Traveling
4. On the Internet
With services like Sitter.com (for child care needs in Canada, the US and some Caribbean countries) and CanadianNanny.ca (Canda only), you have access to thousands of babysitters and nannies at your fingertips. Both sites give you the tools to easily find babysitters and other child care options in thousands of communities in across North America.
These sites are designed to help families find as-needed care. Once you’re registered, you will have direct contact with babysitters in the city and area of your choice. A registered member will be able to communicate with them in advance and even do a virtual interview and complete reference and background checks. You’ll determine the wage and the hours for the sitter.
Related: CanandianNanny.ca Caregiver Background & Screening Service
5. Nanny Agencies in the Area
Many nanny agencies have on-call babysitting services that they can provide to families with flexible child care. You will need to call in advance to arrange this with the agency, as they usually require 48 hours notice. The agency will send a babysitter out to your location, but depending on where you are, you may need to pay for travel expenses. The cost of this service is traditionally 40-50 percent higher than if you were to find a sitter yourself. All costs are typically paid directly to the agency, not to the sitter.
6. Bring a Family Member
A grandparent or related adult may love to be part of your family vacation! Discuss with them in advance the costs and times you were hoping to slip away from the kids on your trip, so they can also schedule their leisure time accordingly.
Many family members would not expect to be paid for the time that they are providing child care, but paying for their accommodations or travel expenses is always an appreciated gesture.
Things to Keep in Mind When Hiring Vacation Babysitters
With online services, hotels, resorts and agencies, parents should assure that babysitters are fully screened. This includes references, CPR, first aid, background checks and other pre-screening. Here’s a list of babysitter background checks you should consider and how to go about doing them.
A proper vacation will leave you rested, recharged and ready to tackle the challenges of your daily life. By taking a few extra steps to make sure that your children are properly cared for while on your trip, you can provide a space for you both to fully unwind. These options should give you the peace of mind that allows you and your spouse to truly relax and savor not only your wine and filet mignon but also each other’s company.
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